There was mixed injury news for the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
Starting goaltender Frederik Andersen joined his teammates for practice after being knocked out of a game over the weekend but defensemen Nikita Zaitsev and Roman Polak were both absent from the 45-minute practice.
“They didn’t practice today so we’ll see if they practice tomorrow,” Coach Mike Babcock told reporters in Toronto. “Obviously, both guys are progressing.”
Andersen, meanwhile, stopped just short of saying he expects to start Thursday, telling reporters, “if everything goes well, yeah.”
Andersen left Saturday’s game after a scary collision with Pittsburgh’s Tom Sestito, who made contact with the goalie’s head and was called for goalie interference. Andersen acknowledged on Tuesday that he was required to go through the NHL’s concussion protocol after the hit but declined to elaborate.
“I'm not going to talk about that in the playoffs,” he said, asked if he was experiencing any symptoms.
Andersen finished the regular season tied for 15th in save percentage (.918).
As for Zaitsev, he left Sunday’s game against the Blue Jackets after getting hit along the boards by Columbus captain Nick Foligno. The Leafs are calling the injury upper body in nature.
Zaitsev ranks second on Toronto in average ice time per game (22:01). He was also second among Leafs defensemen in points (36).
Polak was also injured against Columbus, leaving the game following a bump on the left side from Brandon Dubinsky. He returned for a shift after the hit but spent the rest of the game on the bench.
Polak led the Leafs in hits during the regular season with 232.
“We’re optimistic both guys will be ready, but I can’t guarantee you anything,” Babcock said.
Tyler Bozak also missed practice Tuesday, but Babcock said it was a maintenance day for the veteran forward.
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